By KELIN DILLON
Just days after Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) controversial electricity reform was blocked from passing in Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies, the constitutionality of his Electricity Industry Law (LIE) has now been called into question once again as it has been revealed that the head of the Supreme Court (SCJN), Arturo Zaldívarm incorrectly registered the votes of his fellow court justices on the matter, imposing a decision that did not properly reflect the SCJN’s true majority judgment.
The vote – taken two weeks ago ahead of the Sunday, April 17, vote in the Chamber of Deputies – had decided by majority rule that two of the LIE’s sections were unconstitutional, including Article 4, Section VI, which gave priority to contracts to the state-owned Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) over clean energy and foreign investment, as well as Article 6, which put the CFE’s energy at priority upload to Mexico’s grid.
Recorded as a seven-to-one vote by Zaldívar, the true judgment was a unanimous vote deeming these sections as violating the Mexican Constitution – and thus, should have prompted their removal from the reform bill ahead of the deputies’ vote on Sunday.
Justices Alfredo Gutiérrez, Juan Luis González Alcántara, Luis María Aguilar, Jorge Pardo, Norma Piña, Margarita Ríos Farjat, Javier Laynez and Alberto Pérez Dayán all voted in agreement of the sections’ unconstitutionality. But with only seven of the votes counted by Zaldívar, the Mexican federal government could potentially face litigation over the discrepancy between public record and the true vote count.
Now, as the SCJN is expected to submit an approval of its true voting record, more than 250 amparos (legal injunctions) taken against the electricity reform are still active – and now, with the unconstitutionality of some of the LIE’s sections finally determined, lower courts should be given the green light to begin resolving appeals on the amparos granted against the legislation.
On Tuesday, April 19, Zaldívar offered a (literally) 52-second “review” of the voting and decided that the results would remain as he had originally declared.